I’m a fan of the wilderness, because I believe that the genetic source of diversity found in wildness is critical to a sustainable world. And, as I’ve mentioned before, I believe it’s important to pass this on to my kids. So, just like last year, we went up to Yosemite for a couple of days, backpacking up to May Lake High Sierra Camp (HSC).
A lot was the same, staying in Tuolomne Meadows lodge the night before, packing in a little over a mile with our tents and sleeping bags (letting the May Lake staff handle breakfast and dinner), and doing a day hike between the two nights. This was because the (younger) girl’s backpack was a wee bit big last time, and we wanted to make sure this year that they both were capable before taking on something bigger next year (it jumps from 1.2 to 5.x miles for the next shortest hike to a HSC).
Again, the goal was to minimize the exertion for the kids, having them get a chance to appreciate nature in a fun way. While it wasn’t any more difficult, really, they did experience it as a bit more challenging as our day hike had the uphill bit on the way back. Amazing how that little change affects their perspective!
The real important learning about learning, however, is something my better half picked up on first. We weren’t doing enough to ensure that their learning steps were at the appropriate stage! We quickly did focus on ensuring that they were getting support and guidance in making everything easier. For instance, mentioning that ‘little steps’, at a pace that was sustainable, was better than trying to charge up and then stopping for a long time.
They came back positive, and while a wee bit uncertain about a substantially longer hike, I reckon they’re actually ready to handle it. So, again a success, and a learning experience for me about how better to make it a positive learning experience for them!
The point being that there are ways to help individuals see the bigger benefit picture, scaffold their expectations, and manage the experience to make learning fun and effective. Which is the goal, after all!